I am truly blessed to have some amazing women runners as friends.
My sole sisters – the ones who encourage me to be a better person and a better runner.
What makes them amazing is not their speed, nor their endurance, but their hearts, their dedication and their unending spirit.
This week is more about them, than me.
Sure – I had a great week. I’m getting back on schedule after Cape Cod. I got in an 8 mile gorgeously Fall river run on Wednesday. And hit some great paces on Friday – negative splits and an 8:16 mile 5 (Woohoo!).
But the best part of my week was the weekend with my sole sisters.
Saturday was the Edaville Rail Run. Last year, this was my first real race back from “The Injury”. It’s a 5 mile trail run through cranberry bogs and it’s so darn scenic. Last year I surprised myself and finished faster than I’d hoped. This year, it was Karen’s turn to surprise herself.
My dear friend Karen is finding herself as a runner. She’s done a few 5ks and the ones this year keep resulting in PRs. And she was ready for a new distance. The 5-mile. I had the honor and pleasure of running alongside her Saturday while she reached it. Both of us in pink sparkle skirts!!
I would recommend this race to anyone and everyone. It’s held at Edaville USA in Carver, Ma – known for its holiday lights train and other kid-related events during the year. It’s small and well-run and as I said before, scenic.
You start at the top of a hill, wind past the “village” of small old fashioned houses and then wind through the woods and cranberry bogs. It’s just enough people to not feel lonely on the course, yet you never feel crowded. It’s flat except for one small hill in the middle and one at the end. And it’s fun.
Karen did amazing. The goal was not pace, but distance. To run all of the five miles. So while we took off a little faster than we meant to (happens every race. Lol), we settled in well. Past the dog I just had to woof at (one of my race traditions) and train car #5 (random? Or did that put that one there on purpose…) and out to the bogs.
I’m used to running alone. I love running alone. But there is something so fun about running with a friend. The miles fly by and the stories flow.
You point out the scenery and the cute pants on another runner and you refuse to let either of you check the pace because it doesn’t matter. You slow when you need to and you enjoy the moment.
And before you know it, you’ve wound back around and can see the finish line. And you know that you just want to finish in front of the two girls that have been in front of you for a while.
So as we neared that hill back up to the finish and declared it “time to dance” Karen yelled out to the girls “come on ladies, let’s finish strong” and I countered with “it’s not a hill, it’s a ramp to success”. And we kicked and flew past them, laughing and sprinting our way to the finish line. Side by side and arms raised in victory!
Karen’s sister & niece were right at the line to cheer us on with a sign they made her. (And i can say from experience – that is the best thing you can ever do for a runner. It is awesome.). A high-five and a hug. And it’s official – Karen just finished her first 5 miles. Now, on to the 10k, right doll? 🙂
Then Sunday…Sunday was my friend Lori’s turn to impress. Sunday she ran the Rhode Island 6-hour Ultra.
For those of you who don’t know – an ultra means anything over marathon distance. It also means you’re slightly crazy. In a good way! 🙂
Lori is also once again raising funds to help cure Rett Syndrome, and based her goal distance for this race on how much she had fundraised over two days. Her goal? 38 miles.
And I couldn’t resist going and surprising her. My sole sister Lori has been one of my biggest supporters the past few years and I wanted to return the favor.
So I headed down planning to see her last couple of loops (it’s a 2.7 mi looped course you just run as many times as you can) and by some miracle, pulled into the park just as she was reaching that section of the loop. I yelled out to her, catching her completely off guard and hopefully gave her a boost for that lap. She yelled out “I just finished 50k. Woohoo” Woohoo indeed.
I went and parked and wandered a bit with Kevin & Gus and then waited near the finish to see her come by again. Cheered as loud as I could and took some photos. And watched her keep going. Now at this point, there were only about 15 minutes or less left to the official 6 hours. But Lori wasn’t done yet. She had one lap left for her Team Rett promise.
So we watched everyone else finish – the relay teams sprinting full out and the solo runners getting in those last few steps. And watched as they took down the finish line and started the awards. And waited…because Lori was still out there and I wasn’t leaving until she finished.
And there she was, clearly exhausted but refusing to show it. She finished and I gave her a huge hug. Which someone managed to catch a photo of. (Thank you to that person!).
I am so proud of both of my sole sisters for achieving new distance goals this weekend. I am lucky to have you both to continue to inspire me.
I am also proud of all of the rest of my sole sisters (you know who you are) for getting out there and training and pushing yourself, and working through the doubts and fears, knowing it’s always worth it.
Run on my friends…I’ll see you out there!